Perks aplenty when business gathers steam
Free advice and longer holidays are among the benefits that come with life as an entrepreneur, writes Nina Hendy.
Sure, life as an entrepreneur can be gruelling, but there are plenty of upsides, including swanky parties and the chance to rub shoulders with the rich and famous. Are you ready to quit your day job yet?
Entrepreneurs can drive a hard bargain, but often don't need to because they also have mates in business willing to offer discounts; often without even being asked.
Priyanka Rao, chief executive of Sydney's Luxmy Furniture, says she can get discounts on many things, from tech support to wine, simply by picking up the phone and asking someone she knows.
"A lot of us network at events, so there's always someone you know selling something you need. And so many entrepreneurs inadvertently offer mates rates to other entrepreneurs; it happens all the time," says Rao, who has been in business for three years.
"And sometimes you're offered free sponsorship of events, which can really help promote your business."
Freebies are commonplace. Kate Morris, director of online beauty and skincare site Adore Beauty, is sent dozens of free products as part of product launches.
"It's easily worth a couple of grand a month," she says. "It's too much for me to ever be able to use it all, so once I give the products a try, I'll pass them on to colleagues or friends and family."
The invitations flood in once you're recognised as an entrepreneur. Everyone wants you to come along to networking drinks, black-tie events and business dinners.
Rao is used to getting invitations, but couldn't believe it when a gold embossed envelope arrived on her desk this month.
It was an invitation to attend an event at Kirribilli House with Prince Harry, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and a host of sporting heroes and entrepreneurs.
"These sorts of invites are happening more and more, and it's been awesome," Rao says. "It's just one of the massive perks that come with the territory."
Most entrepreneurs can pick up the phone and call for some potentially game-changing business advice.
Black-tie events are also a great excuse to rub shoulders with others who have been there, done that.
Peter Moriarty, director of Sydney-based itGenius Australia, says there is a constant flow of free advice among entrepreneurs.
"Everyone is willing to help you and give you really good advice," he says. "You get free consulting from other business owners and in return you can be asked to give advice to others."
Other bonuses include being able to set your own hours, decide the direction your business will take, work around family and sleep in when you feel like it.
Kimi Anderson left a corporate role to launch social enterprise TravelGiver. She plans her week around the weather forecasts so she can sneak in a visit to the beach.
"I've also headed out to a park on Sydney Harbour to write a speech," she says.
Most Australians get the standard four weeks off a year. If you're lucky, you might be able to wangle an extra few days.
But entrepreneurs often get the opportunity to take more holidays than salaried employees.
Moriarty has been to Bali, New Zealand and Vietnam this year.
"I combine work with a couple of days of holiday wherever I go," he says.
"I just book holidays when I feel like it and throw it in the calendar.
"We've got clients all over Australia and if I go away for work I usually book a couple of nights extra for myself."
Not only are there more holidays, they are also often cheaper; more travel means more opportunities to pull out the company credit card and collect frequent flyer points.